Poetry International Poetry International

Branko Maleš

Branko Maleš

Branko Maleš

(Croatia, 1949)
Branko Maleš, poet, critic, essayist and columnist, was born in 1949 in Zagreb. In his home town he studied at the Faculties of Technology and Philosophy and began publishing literary criticism and poetry already in his student years. With his first book of poetry, Tekst (1978), which won him the important Branko Prize for the first book of poetry, he established a new, postmodernist understanding of poetry, aptly summarized in Zvonko Maković’s verse from the beginning of his book of poetry, Komete, komete (1978), and often cited by the Croatian critics: “to lie, why not. words are arbitrary anyway.”
Branko Maleš is one of the leading post-war Croatian poets. He is an important innovator in contemporary Croatian poetry, and among other things he coined the term “semantic concretes” and introduced it into literary criticism. The term could be understood within post-structuralist and deconstructivist theories of language and literature, and he used it not only as a critical but also as a categorizing term with not all that clear analytical intentions. Maleš is a connoisseur and proponent of media and pop culture, mostly film and rock music — at the beginning of the 1990s he was one of the editors of the rock magazine Heorina, which was, unfortunately, very short-lived — as is evident in his poems and books of poetry (it is not difficult to recognize an allusion in the title of his book of selected poems, Sjajno ništa – Shiny  Nothing).

As a poet of postmodernist inspiration, he builds the structure of his poems by keeping in mind the rules of visual media, film and video clips, and thus his unusual and remarkable verbal combinations and enjambments  in verse can be considered like film cuts or montage. An urban author with a specific sense of humor, a vitalist by conviction, he loves life for life itself, and so it was with good reason that his selected poems in Italian were entitled, Vita la vita.
© Miloš Đurđević (Translated by Tomislav Kuzmanović)


Tekst, A. Cesarec, Zagreb, 1978; second edition, Studentski list, Zagreb, 1989
Praksa laži, ICR, Rijeka, 1986
Placebo, Naklada MD, Zagreb, 1992
“biba posavec”, Lunapark, Zagreb, 1996
trickster, Lunapark, Zagreb, 1997
Sjajno ništa – izabrane pjesme, Lunapark, Zagreb, 2002
Viva la vita, selected poems in Italian, translated by Marina Lipovac Gatti, S. Hefti, Milan 2002 Valóság elleni gyakorlatok, selected poems in Hungarian, translated by Fenyvesi Ottó and Orcsik Roland, Szegedi Írók Köre – Bábelpress Bt, Szeged – Veszprém, 2005

Crveni zec, columns, Mladost, Zagreb 1989
Treniranje države, columns, Studio grafičkih ideja, Zagreb 1994
Male ljubavi, phenomenological mini-essays, Naklada MD, Zagreb 2000
Razlog za razliku – eseji o hrvatskom pjesništvu, essays, Altagama, Zagreb 2002

As editor
Zbornik off poezije, selection from contemporary Croatian poetry, A. Cesarec, Zagreb 1979
Šum krila, šum vode – izbor iz poezije Vesne Parun, selected poems of Vesna Parun, Mladost, Zagreb 1981
Sječivo za nevine – izbor iz poezije Branimira Bošnjaka, selected poems of Branimir Bošnjak, CKD, Zagreb 1989
Goethe u samoposluživanju – izbor iz novije njemačke poezije, sa D. Karamanom, anthology of contemporary German poetry, with D. Karaman, Naklada MD, Zagreb 1989
Konac dana – izbor iz kratkih proza Vladana Desnice, selected short stories of Vladan Desnica, Mladost, Zagreb 1990
Sredozemlje sedmi put – izbor iz poezije Ivana Rogića Nehajeva, selected poems of Ivan Rogić Nehajev, Lunapark, Zagreb 1999
Orguljaš na kompjutoru – izbor iz poezije Slavka Jendrička, selected poems of Slavko Jendričko, Kristalna kocka vedrine, Sisak 1999
Svježa dama Damask trese – izbor iz ostavštine Josipa Severa, posthumous works of Josip Sever, Lunapark, Zagreb 2004


Branko’s Award for the first book of poetry, 1979
Pavleka Miškina Award for the best literary magazine editor, 1980
Goran’s Wrath Award for poetry oeuvre, 2002
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère